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If there is a region that represents Italy at its best, it’s Tuscany. This charming place is filled with artistic cities, UNESCO heritage sites, romantic villages, spectacular natural landscapes, gorgeous beaches and amazing museums.
Florence, the capital city of Tuscany, is a must-see for everyone who travels to Italy. Once here, you have plenty of choices: museums, art galleries, villas, churches, food markets and palaces. They’re all gorgeous and unique.
Every traveler should include the torre pendente of Pisa on their Tuscan tour. After taking the classic tourist picture in front of it, buy a ticket (or better yet, book it ahead of time to avoid the endless lines), and get ready to climb to the top of the leaning tower to admire the best panorama in town.
Bistecca alla fiorentina, crostini, schiacciata, pappa al Pomodoro, ribollita, olive oil, trippa, lampredotto, pici pasta … the list continues forever. All these delicacies are part of Tuscan gastronomy, which is among the best and tastiest of Italy. Obviously, once here, you’ll need to try all of them.
Tuscany, especially the area near Siena, has plenty of natural hot springs and spas in which you can relax in warm waters. One of the most beautiful spas is in Bagno Vignoni, a nice village in the Val d’Orcia region.
Few things are more fun than watching the Palio di Siena. This ancient horse race takes place in July and August in Piazza del Campo, the largest and most famous square of Siena. It is an old tradition loved by locals where a fun time is all but guaranteed.
Tuscany is not only a region of art cities. You’ll also find incredible beaches and coastal towns. If you have to choose just one, then go to Elba, a tiny island, reachable by ferry from Livorno, which is part of the Tuscan Archipelago and home to spectacular bays and sandy beaches.
Among the most spectacular and romantic areas of Tuscany is Val d’Orcia. When you think of Tuscany, you might think of cypress trees, olive groves, medieval hamlets and smooth hills. Val d’Orcia is what you’re picturing; it looks just like a painting.
Harvest time is one of the most fun and tastiest moments of the year in Tuscany. It takes place every September, and the local communities look forward to it and spend time together to produce the new wine, which they then taste at the local sagre.
One of the largest and best-preserved Etruscan towns is hidden in the south of Tuscany in Populonia. It is a gorgeous archaeological site located just in front of the sea and is a must-see spot for history fans. Plus, you can also combine this cultural trip with a visit to the nearby beaches.
If there is one museum that should take priority in Tuscany, it is the Uffizi Gallery. The chambers hold unique pieces of Renaissance art, including the artworks of Michelangelo, Donatello, Botticelli and Giotto. You can’t say you have been to Tuscany without visiting the Uffizi.
Just one-and-a-half hours from Florence, you’ll find Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, a huge green area perfect for spending some time surrounded only by nature. Spring is the best time of year to go, when the flowers are in bloom and the animals walk the park.
February is the Carnival season in Italy, and Tuscany has its own festival. Carnival of Viareggio isn’t as well known as Carnevale di Venezia, but it has its charm. The parade is very fun, and everyone wears masks and fancy dress.
Florence is famous for the fashion industry, and twice a year, the city hosts Pitti Immagine, one of the largest fashion shows in the world. You can watch the shows, attend elegant dinners and view interesting fashion exhibitions in one of the chicest cities in the world.